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“To come face to face with the living God…is a humbling, wondrous, life-changing experience…In Saint Paul’s case, a face-to-face confrontation with God enlightened his inner being and illumined the darkness of his hatred and self-righteousness. God changed Saul of Tarsus from a mere man into a holy apostle. After his baptism, Saint Paul withdrew into Arabia and avoided the centers of Christian activity. He had faced the Lord Jesus, and he needed time to assimilate all that had changed within himself. We may compare Saint Paul’s encounter with the Lord to the experiences of others who faced Christ…Saint Paul calls himself “one born out of due time” (1 Cor 15:8), and yet he shared the experience of being called by the Lord Jesus. None of the other apostles seems to have experienced quite so cataclysmic a reversal of life as did Saint Paul. And yet each one came face to face with the Lord, the living God, which brought an entirely new orientation to his life.” (Dynamis 11/7/2021)


“The face of God, full of light, is a certain power looking to confer gifts, by which each partaker will be enlightened, as if they were enjoying the rays of the sun. But if one has turned away, his spirit lives in the shadows without light; because the eyes within, namely, the thoughts of the mind, can see nothing. When one persists in sin, more and more shadows come, because deep within him the face of God remains turned away.” (Eusebius of Caesarea)


“Our work as followers of Christ is to look at each human face as a PERSON. The word is purposefully written in all capital letters. Many translations of the Bible, including the New Revised Standard Version, show reverence for God by always covering the letters that refer to God's name with an all capital letters version of the word. As part of the gentle practice of looking at each face, I repeat to myself two words that remind me of the PERSON's holiness. The first word is "theotropic," a real word even though my computer doesn't recognize it! Sunflowers are heliotropic. This means that the surface of the flower always tilts toward the place in the sky where it will receive the most sun….In a way similar to sunflowers and the sun, God created us to tilt toward God.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)


“Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that when He comes, He would convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. The very fact that we see the ugliness of sin in ourselves seems to be evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit….seeing my own ugly sinful face is exactly what is supposed to happen, exactly what the Holy Spirit does in one’s life. In seeing the ugliness of sin in my life, perhaps it helps me to look past the ugliness of sin I see in others so that I might see the good under construction in them, the glimmers of Grace at work. And in seeing the good under construction beneath the brokenness of others, I might have reason to hope that beneath my own face disfigured by sin, God is constructing good there too. “ (Fr. Michael Gillis)


“…it seems deeply important that we be cognizant of the distortions within the soul. Most of those distortions are the product of our own sins, or the sins of others whose damage has become part of our own burden. Moving through those distortions requires patience, the willingness to “bear a little shame,” and the long wisdom of the Church. This, above all, is the great struggle of our time. In the course of my lifetime, nothing has ever compared to the heightened sensitivities and passions of the present. Everything I see tells me that this trial is only going to become more difficult. And, make no mistake, the trial is being waged in the heart rather than in the jostling debates and policies of the world outside. The noise outside of us serves primarily as a means for distorting the heart, for clouding the mirror. The world is seeking to hide from the face of Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Nothing is more fascinating than a human face…It is no mistake that the world's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, is of an elusive and compelling human face. Even so, not one face painted…is greater than the human faces you will see in the coming week… look at each face with the reverence due to one made in the image and likeness of God…In Christ, all are one, all of creation. This unity includes each human face we see, and so each face has the potential, when we remember this deep truth, to bring gladness.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)


“The face of Christ is the human face of God. The Holy Spirit rests on him and reveals to us absolute Beauty, a divine-human Beauty, that no art can ever properly and fully make visible. Only the icon can suggest such Beauty by means of the taboric [Mt. Tabor, the site of Christ’s Transfiguration] light.” (Paul Evdokimov)


“It should be of note that the Holy Icons are always depicted facing us, with some few, turned ever so slightly. Those “turned” faces are found on icons whose placement would have originally been on an iconostasis and are slightly turned so as to be acknowledging the Christ icon. The only figures portrayed in profile are Judas Iscariot and the demons (or those who are fulfilling those roles). In the art of the Renaissance, and subsequent, this treatment of the face disappears. The human figure is simply studied for itself, as art, the relational function of the icon having been forgotten.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Identification begins as a visual process, but quickly becomes an internal imagery process, encompassing visual, auditory, and kinesthetic scenes. It is that universal scene of communion between mother and infant, accomplished through facial gazing in the midst of holding and rocking during breast or bottle feedings, that creates the infant’s sense of oceanic oneness or union…Developmental psychologists say that the face-to-face gazing of mother and child in the act of nursing is an essential building block in the development of personality and the ability to relate to others.” (Gershen Kaufman, Father Stephen Freeman)


“Our experience of the face is an experience of nakedness and vulnerability. On the positive side, the result is identification, communion and oneness. On the negative side, it is the pain of shame and the felt need to hide. I can think of nothing else in nature that so closely parallels and reveals the fundamental character of our relationship with God. Salvation is communion. Sin is an enduring shame…For indeed there are faces full of spiritual grace, lovely to behold for those who desire them and commanding respect from enemies who hate them.” (Father Stephen Freeman, St. John Chrysostom)


“Prosopon, the Greek word for person, actually means “face.” It is deeply significant that no one, without a mirror, can see his or her own face—my face may only be seen by another. Without relationship, then, our own faces are hidden, even to ourselves, like flowers in the dark…We find our most true face, our own personhood—our own prosopon—revealed.” (Douglas Cramer)

“With the face, and its implications for personhood, much more can be said. I cannot see the face of another without looking at them. To see your face, I must reveal my face. That face-to-face encounter is pretty much the deepest and oldest experience we have as human beings (first experienced with our mother in nursing). For the whole of our lives, our faces are the primary points of experience and reaction. We cannot truly know the other without encountering them face-to-face.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Many who talk about love and unity are themselves not united with God, because they have not loved Him, nor do they have true love. He who has true love is he who also has upright faith, who lives close to God. For it is then that God is reflected in his face, and others can see God Himself in his face.” (Papa Demetri)

"In the Garden of Eden, we sinned and lost the face of God. This was the greatest disaster possible, because we were designed to live in the unique, perfect, marvelous light of His countenance.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"Only Light can truly comprehend darkness. The more the artist beholds the nature of God, the more he comes to know himself. It is the face of Christ that reveals his true nature and opens his heart to compassion.” (Jonathan Jackson)

“In both Latin and Greek, the word translated as “person,” actually refers to the face, or a mask (as a depiction of the face). The face is not only our primary presentation to the world, and our primary means of relationship, it is also, somehow, that which is most definitively identified with our existence as persons.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The self resides in the face.” (Sylvan Tompkins)

“The more we rely on technology, texting, social media, and even the phone as our primary means of communicating with and relating to each other, the more we risk diminishing our personhood. There is something simple, holy, and communal simply experiencing each other face to face.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


#PastorTimothyKeller #JonathanJackson #FatherStephenFreeman #SylvanTompkins #SacramentalLivingMinistries #DouglasCramer #PapaDemetri #RevChristopherHMartin #PaulEvdokimov #GershenKaufman #StJohnChrysostom #Dynamis #EusebiusofCaesarea #FrMichaelGillis

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